Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks are located side by side in the central part of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California. They are placed about 200 miles North of Los Angeles and about 200 miles Southeast of San Francisco. The entrance to Kings Canyon lies about 50 miles east of Fresno and the entry to Sequoia is about 35 miles east of Visalia. The best known and accessible entrance via Highway 99 through the Central Valley of California.
This arid terrain between the Coastal Mountains and the Sierra Nevada Mountains was once a semi desert valley. As you drive through the Central Valley, you will find many roadside markets that sells fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables all grown in the surrounding fields and orchards because nowadays the region is not anymore a desert, it has been transformed, by massive irrigation, into one of the most fertile agricultural regions in the USA.
If you look for a less populated place to visit, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are perfect because there are not crowded by millions of visitors each year as the Grand Canyon or Yosemite Park. The only access through each park is by automobile or bus tour.
Sequoia National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California, in the United States. This park covers an area of 404,051 acres. Encompassing a vertical relief of nearly 13,000 feet, the park contains among its natural resources the highest point in the contiguous 48 United States, Mount Whitney which has a high of 14,505 feet.
The park is famous for its giant sequoia trees, from where his name comes, including the General Sherman tree, declared the largest tree on Earth. The park’s giant sequoia forests provide 202,430 acres of old-growth forests shared by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
To visit Sequoia National Park you can access the entrance near by town of Three Rivers at Ash Mountain. Because in the park you can find fuel and you’ll need it to travel inside the park you should fill your tank in Three Rivers town. It will cost you $10 for a 7-day pass to enter both Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. From the Three Rivers entrance, the road climbs nearly 2,000 meters in 26 miles of switchbacks to the 2,500-meter summits of the first Sierra peaks. A beautiful view. In this region, visitors often have the opportunity to see mule deer, Douglas squirrels, and American black bears, which sometimes break into unattended cars to eat food left by careless visitors.
Here you can relax by fishing, you can do hiking, camping and backpacking. But there are five main destinations that no visitor should miss them.
The Sherman Trail which is an about a mile roundtrip paved trail between the parking lot and the base of the General Sherman tree.
The Tunnel Log is a tunnel cut through a fallen giant sequoia tree. The tree, which measured 275 feet tall and 21 feet in diameter, fell across a park road in 1937 due to natural causes. The following year, a crew cut an 8-foot tall, 17-foot wide tunnel through the trunk, making the road passable again.
Campgrounds – there are four campgrounds at higher, elevations between 6,650 to 7,500 feet: Atwell Mill (21 sites), Cold Springs (40 sites), Lodgepole (214 sites), and Dorst Creek (204 sites).
The Crescent Meadow which is a small, sequoia rimmed meadow in the Giant Forest region. This sierra montage meadow marks the western terminus of the High Sierra Trail, which stretches from the meadow across the Great Western Divide to Mount Whitney. The meadow lies at the end of a three mile paved road which leaves the Generals Highway near the Giant Forest Museum.
And the last but not the least destination is Moro Rock, a granite dome located in the center of the park, at the head of Moro Creek, between Giant Forest and Crescent Meadow. You can climb Moro Creek using a 400 step stairway, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s. It’s a spectacular view from up there.
Kings Canyon National Park is a National Park in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Fresno, California which was established in 1940 and covers an area of 461,901 acres. The main, northern entrance lies about 50 miles east of Fresno along Highway 180. The park is north of and contiguous with Sequoia National Park. Here in Kings Canyon National Park some wanted to build a dam at the western end of the valley, while others wanted to preserve it as a park. In Kings Canyon you will benefit for camping facilities, toilets, restaurants, convenience stores and several lodges.
From Route 180 the road drops 1,000 meters down into the canyon through a series of switchbacks from where you can admire spectacular views. At the bottom, it follows the raging Kings River up this narrow defile for about 10 miles to Cedar Grove Village and Roads End. The canyon walls rise 1,000 meters on each side.
If you love nature, wild lands, sequoia trees or you prefer a less crowded place, then these two parks are perfect for you. Visit them, you will not regret it.